Workshops, courses educate horse owners
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The romantic idea of owning and riding horses often does not match the costly and time-consuming reality of maintaining them, a discrepancy being addressed in workshops aimed at making horse ownership more rewarding.
Clay Cavinder, horse specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, offers a one-day workshop and a six-week program to address the tremendous amount of information that a horse owner must absorb.
“We offer Hands on Horses as a one-day workshop to help people learn how to handle their horses,” Cavinder said. “Our target audience is both new and existing horse owners, as there are so many things a person has to figure out.”
The Hands on Horses class is presented in a barn with MSU horses, and topics cover selecting hay and feeding and grooming the animals.
“The greatest expense you will incur with horse ownership is not the purchase price,” Cavinder said. “That’s the least. A 1,000-pound animal eats at lot, and there is a responsibility that comes with them to care for them properly.”
This class is a great introduction for people considering getting a horse or those who are new to horse ownership. This workshop introduces them to the resources available through the MSU Extension Service.
The next Hands on Horses workshop will be held April 25 at MSU’s horse unit at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center. The cost to attend this one-day workshop is $45 per person. Participants do not have to own a horse to attend this workshop.
But knowing how to own, care for and enjoy a horse takes longer than one day, so Cavinder expanded this workshop to a six-week experience. Horse Management 101 was the result.
“We take it from the perspective of beginners, but even if you are an experienced horse owner, there is still a lot you can learn,” he said. “Nutrition is a good example. It can be very complex how to feed a horse, and even people who have done this for 30 years may have some misconceptions.”
This program was specifically designed for Extension agents to offer in their own counties to support the horse industry and horse owners of their region. Topics included nutrition, exercise physiology, horsemanship skills and more. Participants receive one hour of instruction and then two hours of riding and hands-on work.
Amy Ware, Extension agent in Montgomery County, hosted the first Horse Management 101 workshop in 2017. Although offered in Winona, it drew participants from as far away as Yazoo, Washington and Clay counties.
“We ended up with about 20 people who came for three hours once a week for eight weeks,” Ware said. “Everybody who walked away from that program said they would do it again because the information they gained about horses and horse ownership was helpful to them.”
Although this course is designed for people who already own and ride horses, it can be used as an introduction for those serious about getting into the horse industry.
The logistics of offering a Horse Management 101 class are more demanding, but Cavinder said he will offer the course to any group of interested individuals across the state where the facilities are in place. Costs for this class vary by location and size of the group.
Contact the local Extension office for more information on how to have this course offered in a particular region.
MSU is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation or other information, please contact Cavinder at 662-325-7466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.